Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Team success goes past wins

Although it did not end in ideal fashion, the Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team’s season was filled with many high points.

Some of the team’s accomplishments this season include a regular season conference title, home-court advantage throughout the SUNYAC tournament and multiple players being placed on all-conference teams.

Head coach Tom Curle, who set the record for all-time wins at PSUC this season, said the Cardinals set high goals for themselves.

So while the Cards did have a season that most programs would be thrilled with, losing in the SUNYAC Championship and not making the NCAA tournament has definitely left a sour taste in the players’ and coaches’ mouths.

Curle feels his squad was definitely capable of being an NCAA tournament-caliber team, but a few missed opportunities ruined that.

“We let a few games slip away,” Curle said. “You cannot get those back, and I am still feeling the sting of that.”

A major struggle the team faced this year was their inability to win the second game of a weekend doubleheader, which happened five times this season. This type of loss is what eventually led to the end of their 2015 campaign, with a home loss to Oswego in the SUNYAC Championship.

This loss was an unfortunate case of deja vu for this year’s team. For the players who have been on the team for the past three seasons, this is the third time in a row that PSUC has lost the championship game.

Even though the Cards’ season ended sooner than they would have liked, there were still high points that will be remembered by the team and the fans.

Senior forward and First Team All-SUNYAC selection Reggie Williams had an outstanding season that saw him finish in the top five in the conference in rebounding with 233 rebounds along with leading the conference in field-goal percentage with a .575 clip.

While Williams was originally set to play his final season in 2013-14, a foot injury sidelined him for the whole season. This season, he was able to take a second shot at his senior year, and he made it count.

Williams will remember a lot from this season, notably a game against Skidmore where the team fought for an overtime victory. What he will remember most is more of the recurring events.

“I’ll remember just coming into practice every single day and doing battle with these guys,” Williams said. “Them helping me through my injury and playing hard through practice are memories I will cherish forever.”

Senior guard Mike Mitchell, who finished in a first-place tie for assists per game in the SUNYAC this season with 132, talked about how he and a few other teammates went into Curle’s office after an unsuccessful freshman season and told Curle that wouldn’t happen again.

Their statement held true.

Over the next three seasons, the Cards averaged 21 wins, which is a feat for any program over a long stretch of time. This season saw the Cards go 19-8, which is nothing to scoff at. Although the team didn’t advance as far as they have the past couple seasons, Mitchell is still pleased with how the season went.

“This season was special because we had everyone playing the whole year,” Mitchell said. “Aside from a couple injuries here and there, we were all there practicing and playing hard.”

Mitchell will also remember his teammate Jordan Moody, a Second Team All-SUNYAC selection, singing and rapping on team bus rides.

The Cards did not cut down any nets in 2015, they didn’t win any championships and they did not make it to the NCAA Tournament. What they did, however, was engage hundreds of fans on multiple occasions, win their regular season conference title and play an exceptional season of basketball.

Curle also feels the team achieved a goal that is too often overlooked in college sports: academic success. There were seven seniors on the team this season, and all of them plan to graduate in May, a feat that will prove most valuable for all the members of this year’s squad.

Email Bailey Carlin at bailey.carlin@cardinalpointsonline.com

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